I received an eARC of the book from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinion.
Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - first in prequel series
A MERCILESS BAND OF MAGES MURDERED HER PARENTS, MASSACRED HER TRIBE AND BRANDED HER WITH MYSTICAL SIGILS THAT LEFT HER A REVILED OUTCAST. THEY SHOULD’VE KILLED HER INSTEAD.
Stealing, swindling, and gambling with her own life just to survive, Ferius will risk anything to avenge herself on the zealous young mage who haunts her every waking hour.
But then she meets the incomparable Durral Brown, a wandering philosopher gifted in the arts of violence who instead overcomes his opponents with shrewdness and compassion. Does this charismatic and infuriating man hold the key to defeating her enemies, or will he lead her down a path that will destroy her very soul?
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
Ferius was one of my favourite characters in the SPELLSLINGER series, a confident woman of secrets, a teacher with age and wisdom that could only have been gained from long (practical) experience. As soon as I heard that she was getting a book of her own, I knew I had to read it!
It seems appropriate that I should read the prequel to the SPELLSLINGER series on a train back to uni when the audiobooks of the series were my companion on my walks in the first English lockdown that took me away from uni.
(Aha! Now I have read a book in print, I might have a chance of spelling the names correctly! Given my propensity for forgetting spellings, there are likely to still be mistakes!)
It was such a delight to return to this world, to see the origins of a beloved character. The world Ferius inhabits somehow managed to be even seedier than the one Kellen finds himself in. We get to see what took her into the path of the Argosi, and how she fought the rage. We get to see her learning the way, and why she teaches Kellen that way (despite knowing it to be VERY frustrating!)
It’s not the story I was expecting from the hints given in the other books, being a fair bit darker, but with the same episodic nature of the books, the major plot of that act largely wrapping by the end, but with just enough left hanging to continue.
Ferius is a very unreliable narrator. At the start, there are discrepancies pointed out, uncertainties the attention is drawn to. They fade a little from prominence as the story goes on, but they’re always there, niggling. Something isn’t quite right. The way it was brought into and explained as part of the ending was a lot of fun.
I was a tad confused by the ending, not quite sure why the mage who helped them did. It was quite a pivotal thing, this woman switching sides, because the trick at the end only worked because she sided with them. Maybe I missed something, but it felt to me like there wasn’t enough explanation so it came across as rather a deus ex machina.
Read my reviews of other books by Sebastien de Castell:
Argosi (this series):
- FALL OF THE ARGOSI (#2)
Spellslinger (chronologically after this series):
- SPELLSLINGER (#1)
- SHADOWBLACK (#2)
- CHARMCASTER (#3)
- SOULBINDER (#4)
- QUEENSLAYER (#5)
- CROWNBREAKER (#6)